Wouldn’t You Love To Know?
Reviews

Wouldn’t You Love To Know?

It seems incongruous at first. Bluegrass guitar and claw-hammer banjo. Used in a meditation on the lofty themes of the nature of knowledge, this instrumentation results in a song that sounds as if it would be more at home on a front porch in some Appalachian hollow than in the lofty halls of the academy,…

Companion books
Media & Culture | Reviews

Companion books

While most people can relate to the idea that a book can be a companion, books can also act as companions to one another. In my role as a vice principal last fall, I observed an eighth grade teacher leading a study of a verse-novel that begins in war-torn Vietnam called Inside Out and Back…

Tilting the floor of human behaviour
Reviews | Science & Technology

Tilting the floor of human behaviour

A recent Netflix documentary titled The Social Dilemma interviews several engineers who initially helped build social media platforms, but who are now sounding the alarm on their creations. The film features prominent designers from Google, Facebook and Twitter, including the engineer who created the pervasive “like” button and the inventor of the “infinite scroll.” The…

A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale
Family Life | Holidays | Reviews

A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale

Young Jo, her infant brother, and ill, single mother are cast out into the elements on Christmas Eve. Though Jo plans to leave town on a bus with her family, the fierce, unruly winter wind pushes them in the direction of Franklin Murdoch’s barn and house. Jo is afraid of the man, known in the community as mean and crusty; the death of his wife and baby on a Christmas Eve long ago had apparently turned him into a nasty person.

Taking the long view
Arts & Culture | Reviews

Taking the long view

The title suggests a guide to the worthy books of the past, but it is actually Alan Jacobs’ argument for why we should assign any worth to such books. The necessity of his argument, Jacobs explains, is a modern mindset that is overloaded with information, experiencing change at a rapid pace, and inundated with the…

Buckle up!
Arts & Culture | Reviews

Buckle up!

Justin Trudeau is currently promoting an app for my phone that will notify me if I’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. My iPhone is flipping on the microphone every so often to listen in – or maybe it isn’t – you can ask Siri. I’ll be going home soon…

Craft and faith in equal measure
Arts & Culture | Reviews

Craft and faith in equal measure

Mark Twain’s famous proclamation – “there’s no such a thing as an original idea” – may allow some respite to creators (me included), but there are those who set themselves up for a different kind of challenge – one of telling a story, the story, again for the gazillionth time and that too from a…

Reframing a Famous Mission Story for the 21st Century
Arts & Culture | Reviews

Reframing a Famous Mission Story for the 21st Century

Joan Thomas’ Five Wives frames a shocking true story of five young American missionaries killed in January 1956 by native tribesmen in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. A photojournalist for Life magazine was allowed to join the American rescue mission dispatched to find the missing missionaries. His photos of bodies scattered over a jungle landscape, and of the five…

Scaling the Big Me
Arts & Culture | Reviews

Scaling the Big Me

Do you dismiss as a hypocrite a public intellectual who divorced his wife of 27 years and married his much younger research assistant while writing a book called The Road to Character? Or do you buy his next book to see what he has learned through such public scandal, assuming a person is more than their…

A Careful Critique
Arts & Culture | Politics | Reviews

A Careful Critique

Flags at the front of churches and Bibles waving at political rallies are common place in the United States, and two thirds of Americans agree with the statement “America is a Christian nation” (according to a 2013 poll). That level of fusion between love of God and love of country, however, does not explain why many, in the name of Christ, reject non-white immigrants, refuse to recognize racial injustice in spite of overwhelming evidence, oppose equality for women, defend gun culture, and excuse killing civilians…

Leading in the Way of Jesus?
Arts & Culture | Politics | Reviews

Leading in the Way of Jesus?

The contemporary Christian musician Andrew Peterson provocatively laments “the second coming of the Pharisees” when he witnesses Christians behaving contrary to their teacher (Come, Lord Jesus, 2000). I heard this song playing repeatedly in my mind as I read Katherine Stewart’s recent book, The Power Worshippers, on the rise and danger of Christian nationalism.